Muslim rally organisers tell extremists to stay away

Thousands of Muslims will gather in central London today in a show of defiance against Islamic extremists who last week called for the death of Westerners after the publication of cartoons defiling the image of the Prophet Mohamed.

The rally is expected to be one of the biggest Muslim demonstrations to ever take place in Britain. Organisers of the event have told Muslim agitators that they will not be welcome and the Metropolitan Police have said they will arrest anyone carrying banners intended to incite violence. Police are also prepared to combat any threat from extreme right-wing groups, including the BNP, who may want to try to hijack the event.

The Muslim Council of Britain, which is organising the event, has received a handful of race-hate e-mails after the demonstrations last week in which extremist Muslims waved offensive banners calling for the murder of those who insult Islam.

The British National Party has published some of the cartoons on its website. "British newspapers have united in their cowardice by refusing to carry the cartoons which have caused a storm of protest and anger amongst the Muslim world," read the accompanying statement.

Inayat Bunglawala, spoke-sman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said that no form of extremism would be tolerated at the rally. "The reasons for the really are two-fold. We want to allow peaceful expression of the hurt caused by the publication of the cartoons but we also want to allow people to publicly distance themselves from the extremists because for most of Britain this is the only impression they have of Muslims in this country."

He condemned the extremists for their reaction after newspapers in Denmark, Norway, France and Germany published the cartoons. "They are the mirror image of the BNP and have done more harm to Muslims living in this country than that caused by the BNP," he said.

But other representatives of moderate Muslim groups questioned the value of holding a rally. Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament, said: "I think we have had enough protests and the time has come for Muslims to go back to work. The best way to earn respect is by leading peaceful lives rather than going on marches, no matter how important they are. We would be better working towards ending social exclusion and marginalisation in our societies. I won't be attending the rally."

Mr Bunglawala said: "I wish we didn't have to hold this rally but how else can we distance ourselves from the extremists?"

The rally, which begins at 1pm, is being supported by 400 Muslim groups affiliated to the Muslim Council of Britain. The publication of the cartoons was debated during a comedy festival which began yesterday. Jokes about religion and whether there are no-go areas for satirists will be discussed at the Leicester Comedy Festival.

The festival's founder and director Geoff Rowe said: "It's really important that when putting together the programme for the festival we consider issues about what people can tell jokes about and what they can't."

Who's going on the march - and why?

NAZIR AHMED, 35, BARRISTER

"I'm going to the march and I'm a law-abiding and peaceful citizen. We have a responsibility to show our anger and frustration in a peaceful way. The march will give a clear message that ... in a democratic society everyone has freedom of speech, but it is not unconditional. The Danish paper has hurt millions of Muslims."

MUZIBUL ISLAM, 36, SOCIAL WORKER

"I will definitely be going. Not many people have a high awareness of the Prophet Mohamed - and the image some people have is wrong. There have been demonstrations recently that a lot of people in the community didn't agree with. We need to tackle views like the Danish cartoons in a diplomatic manner."

MOHAMMED KROESSIN, 35, CHARITY WORKER

"I'm thinking about going on the march but I need to weigh up the pros and cons. The main benefit is that there will probably be 50,000 Muslims in Trafalgar Square. But one guy could hijack the event and create negative press, and that's why I'm in two minds about going."

DEEQA HASSAN, 19, HEALTH STUDIES STUDENT

"I can't go to the march because I'm working, but I would love to. Personally I don't think it will make much of an impact. A lot of my friends are going and everyone is angry. I think the media should be more responsible. The Prophet Mohamed is pure, and it's disgusting to draw him as he was in the cartoon.''

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

Software Solution Technician - Peterborough - up to £21,000

£20000 - £21000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Solutio...

Supply teachers needed- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Supply teachers needed for va...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed Rand...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering